Preventive Tree Care Maintenance Program
Proper tree care begins at planting and continues throughout the life of the tree. Preventing a problem is much less costly and time-consuming than curing one, once it has developed. An effective maintenance program, including regular inspections and the necessary follow-up care of mulching, fertilizing, and pruning, can detect problems and correct them before they become damaging or fatal. Proactive tree care will allow trees to live their normal long lives often as long as 200 – 300 years.
5 Ways to Maintain the Health of Your Trees
- Plant the right tree in the right place. Dogwoods don’t belong in full sun. Douglas-fir or other large trees should not be planted under the power lines. Other factors such as drainage, spacing, deer, and screening should be considered during tree selection.
- Protect trees from mowers, weed eaters, and other equipment. Avoid growing grass right up to the base of the tree. Properly installed mulch rings will protect against these bark damages.
- The soil under the trees branches should be soft to encourage root growth and water/air penetration. Mulch around the tree will soften compacted soils and encourage soil biology which promotes root growth. Consult an arborist to check soils and detect girdling roots which promote overall tree health.
- Prune according to accepted methods. Consult with an arborist to determine what pruning is needed.
- If you think a tree is too tall, consult an arborist. You might be better off cutting the tree down and planting a smaller variety.
Why Prune a Tree
- Safety Hazards (removal dead, hanging, broken and stubbed limbs)
- Balance (pruning back heavy sections to even weight throughout the tree)
- Single Leader (promotes tree strength by reducing side leaders)
- Crown Weakness (remove limbs that rub or cross, decayed limbs, weak limb junctions all of which increase branch failure)
- Density (is controlled by thinning congested sections to improve light gathering efficiency)
- Views (trees can co-exist with views if they’re pruned to allow a desired view)
Proper Tree Pruning
Proper tree pruning is a function that should be performed with a specific purpose: to remove dead/diseased branches, thin the canopy, lightly reduce the the longest branches back to a lateral branch, or elevate – removing the lower branches to allow sunlight underneath or create headroom.
Many times, we have clients call to have their trees reduced. Simply cutting back or topping results in near death or the tree can sprout back bigger and bushier depending on the species. No more than 20% of the branches and leaf volume should be removed in a single season. Topping to stubs is never appropriate.